Camden County Community Assessment

The United Way of Camden County (UWCC) engaged the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs at Rutgers-Camden (WRI) to prepare a Comprehensive Community Assessment of all 37 municipalities in the County. The objective of this Community Assessment is to provide a broad array of data for the UWCC to use in orienting its community-building process. The model drawn upon for this study is Compass 2.0, a community-building model developed by the United Way of America and used as a community assessment and community-building tool by United Ways throughout the country.

Study of the Non-Profit Community in Camden – 2004

This report, completed in February of 2008 offers three different viewpoints for incidents of Part I crime in Camden City.  The report, based on data collected from the Camden City Police Department, provides longer and short term looks at one of Camden City’s most pressing policy concerns.

 Public Safety

PRI-RE$PECT (Reentry Employment Service Programs Enhancing Community Transition)

In 2006, The New Jersey Department of Corrections released approximately 14,000 prisoners.  Release statistics show that the state’s poorer urban areas are burdened by a disproportionate amount of this population.  Consequences of failure in reentry are of serious concern to policy-makers and all stakeholders determined to increase public safety and quality of life issues for residents.  In the United States, two-thirds of the individuals released from prison are rearrested for the commission of a new crime within three years. 

Since 2002, the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs has been working with the Camden Safer Cities Initiative to address issues of service delivery and offender accountability through increased communication and collaboration among city residents, law enforcement agencies, social service providers, and offender supervisory agencies. 

In 2007, WRI began work on evaluations of two prisoner reentry programs for the New Jersey Department of Corrections, Office of Transitional Services.  The evaluations of these programs will measure impact in re-offense rates amongst a set of  selected participants in the program. 

>>> Prisoner Reentry Initiative – RE$PECT

>>> Final PRI-RE$PECT Evaluation Report

Policy Forum on Successful Rehabilitation for Ex-Offenders

The genesis of the Policy Forum came from the Camden Safer Cities Initiative and its experience with a specialized caseload of probationers and adult and juvenile parolees.

This report provides some background on the Camden Safer Cities Initiative, as well as frames the scope of re-entry and supervision in Camden City, summarizes the Policy Forum and recommendations that were offered by the panelists.

An Analysis of Curfew Projects in Five Cities

To assist the Camden City Curfew Project the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs analyzed curfew projects operating in Denver, Colorado, Jacksonville, Florida, North Little Rock, Arkansas, New Orleans, Louisiana and Phoenix, Arizona.  We looked at how the programs are funded and staffed, as well as how they use volunteers, involvement of service providers, and what type of services are provided to youth.  Findings indicate that the Camden project is uniquely dependent upon volunteers and has a relatively broad coalition of partners.

Crime in Camden City, February 2008

This report, completed in February of 2008 offers three different viewpoints for incidents of Part I crime in Camden City.  The report, based on data collected from the Camden City Police Department, provides longer and short term looks at one of Camden City’s most pressing policy concerns.

Five City Crime Report

Highlighting five major cities in New Jersey, this report compares crime statistics from 2000 through 2005 amongst Camden, Trenton, Newark, Atlantic City and Jersey City.  Data for these comparisons are collected from the 2000 Census and Unified Crime Reports.  Crime incidents and rates in all five cities are compared, broken down into violent and non-violent crimes.

Project Safe Neighborhoods

WRI’s has been awarded two Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) grants as a part of our public safety work in Camden City. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in America by networking existing local programs that target gun crime and providing these programs with additional tools necessary to be successful. This federal funding, awarded by the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, has allowed WRI to provide important data analysis and technical assistance to several key crime prevention and suppression initiatives in the city with the goal of increasing the effectiveness of these initiatives.

Project Safe Neighborhoods Semi-Annual Report, and Final Project Report 

Juvenile Arrest Record

Using data collected from the Camden City Police Department, The Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs has offered a descriptive analysis of Camden City Juvenile Arrests.  Arrest statistics are offered by month, age and type of crime for 2006, while yearly totals are compared to those of previous years.

Half Year Analysis of Part I Crime in Camden City, January-June 2006

This analysis of Part I Crime in Camden City is based on UCR Crime Data. Part I Crime is the most violent, serious and frequently occurred offenses (murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson). Some of the findings show that while crime is up in 2006, it is still well below the previous 5 year average.

Regional Planning and Community Development

Greater Camden Partnership (GCP)

The Walter Rand Institute was contracted to coordinate a study for the Greater Camden Partnership that will evaluate Camden Special Services District (CSSD) operating structure and analyze their relationship with stakeholders. WRI will focus on the coordination of CSSD operations with key municipal departments.    

The Camden Special Services District project is vital to downtown Camden, as it promotes Camden as a clean and safe place to live, work, study, and invest.  The CSSD enhances maintenance and security of the city’s main commercial areas. The study will assist the Greater Camden Partnership in bringing economic growth to downtown Camden.
>>> Click here to download the final report 

South Jersey Regional Planning

Responding to stakeholders in the South Jersey region, Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs at Rutgers – Camden (WRI) was approached to help explore ways to better manage regional development. Under the leadership of WRI, a Regional Development Forum was organized, bringing together diverse stakeholders for candid policy discussions about development issues. The group, comprised of builders, environmentalists, planning experts and policy advocates came together to identify common goals and generate recommendations for improving planning, with special consideration for southern New Jersey, the fastest growing region in the state. The group came to a consensus that a county-centric planning model, entitled Growth Fit. The document titled “County-Centric Planning and Development for New Jersey “ discusses this model, generating the necessary interest to this county-centric plan into legislation. The document titled “Legislative Draft” is the policy recommendation for county growth fit planning composed by WRI, to be introduced by a legislator.
>>> Click here to download the Planning Report
>>> Click here to download the Legislative Draft

South Jersey Regional Development Forum-Summary Briefing Memo April 2006

On April 4, 2006, the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs convened the second South Jersey Regional Development Forum. This Forum featured a presentation by Barry Seymour, Assistant Executive Director of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission on Destination 2030: A Vision for the Future.  This presentation provided an opportunity for policymakers and stakeholders at the Forum to discuss in a broader regional context the Growth Fit Model for housing developed by the Builder’s League of South Jersey.

South Jersey Regional Development Forum – A Discussion on the Growth Fit Model

On November 3, 2005 the Senator Walter Rand Institute hosted the first South Jersey Regional Development Forum which featured a discussion on the Growth Fit Model as presented by the Builder’s League of South Jersey.  This forum was held in an effort to foster open and productive discussions of critical issues facing development in southern New Jersey.  The outcomes of this discussion included: identifying the need for media support and an outreach plan to educate the public about these issues, the crucial nature of further discussions regarding these issues and the need to incorporate environmental issues into this discussion.

Smart Growth Forecast for the Counties of Southern New Jersey

In 2005, the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs completed a Smart Growth Forecast for the counties of Southern New Jersey to assess the effects of urban sprawl in the region.  The study assessed current land use practices in an effort to establish the need for better land use management in Southern New Jersey.  This assessment involves the collection of data and creation of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) maps to illustrate possible development scenarios in the region.

Smart Growth Forecast for Three Counties in Southern New Jersey

In 2004, the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs conducted a Smart Growth Forecast for Camden, Gloucester and Burlington Counties in southern New Jersey.  A land use simulation model was developed to enable policymakers, planners, developers and community groups to see where potential new development should take place as well as to assess the extent to which existing urban centers needed redevelopment.  This alternative approach advocates coordinated, comprehensive planning processes that encourage urban revitalization, open space preservation while promoting sustainable economic development.

Get On Board 2007

Making the Most of Your Service on a Nonprofit Board of Directors

The Walter Rand Institute of Public Affairs, part of Rutgers University-Camden Campus, was asked to develop curiculum, deliver conduct training and facilitate workshops for non-profit board members for the Volunteer Center of Gloucester County. “Get on Board” is a training program for board members which reinforces skills necessary to effectively run a Board. The program also offers workshops for area non-profit organizations in Gloucester County and assists participants in finding a position on a local non-profit Board.

Burlington County Literacy Needs Assessment

How are businesses being affected by the literacy of their workforce? How aware are businesses of workforce literacy issues? What kinds of literacy services would benefit businesses and their employees? Given that an estimated 42% of adults in the county lack literacy skills needed to be successful in family life and the workplace, these are critical questions for the county to answer. 

In 2006, WRI was contracted by the Burlington County Workforce Investment Board’s Literacy Committee to explore these and other questions regarding workforce literacy in the county. Utilizing surveys and focus groups, WRI helped the Literacy Committee find the answers to these questions and formulate strategies to address the needs of Burlington County businesses and residents.

Towards a Metropolitan Complex: The Camden HUB Smarth Growth Report

Written at a critical time for Camden County, “Toward a Metropolitan Complex: the Camden HUB Smart Growth Report” describes the looming peril of a decreasing tax base and increasing health and social service demands in Camden County.  Dr. Richard Harris, Director of the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs, considers the current and impending state of affairs in this report, and offers a sound solution for regional development that employs and conserves environmental, institutional, social and infrastructure resources. Read more on the forecasted state of Camden County and viable solutions for redevelopment. 

Camden City Capacity Building Project

An important component of any serious effort to improve governmental capacity is an assessment of the skills, capabilities and training/development needs of the municipal workforce. While numerous studies have noted the need for governmental capacity building in Camden, none had provided an assessment of its employees. To that end, the Office of the Chief Operating Officer (COO) requested that the Walter Rand Institute (WRI) design a survey of development needs and technical skills of all levels of employees in City Hall.  Questions probed employees’ understanding of governmental processes and operations, their educational attainment and training, allocation of time to critical activities, and their responses to motivation and incentive alternatives, as well as information technology skills.

South Jersey’s Views on Sprawl, Development and Regional Identity

The report, “South Jersey’s Views on Sprawl, Development, and Regional Identity,” is based on surveys conducted in 2001, surrounding the issues of suburban sprawl, development and regional identity.  Survey responses from South Jerseyans help to understand the myths related to South Jersey’s identity, and the cycle of valuing open space while urban flight and suburban development increase demands for those lands to be developed. Valuable for its description of South Jerseyans’ values and preferences, click here to read more on the proposed smart growth initiatives for the region.

Farmland Preservation and Agritourism in South Jersey

Prepared by Rand faculty fellow Robert Wood, this report examines agritourism in the context of New Jersey agriculture and the state’s farmland preservation program. Agritourism—a broad array of activities linking farmers and consumers more directly—is often seen as an important way to answer the question: Once farmland has been preserved, how do we preserve the farmer?  New Jersey has the second largest farmland preservation program in the nation in terms of proportional acreage, but many traditional types of farming in the state are in decline.  The report argues for a synergistic approach to the relationship between agritourism and farmland preservation, making proposals to enhance the potential of each to contribute to the other and thereby contribute to a continuing place for a productive agriculture in the Garden State.

Other Publications

MPA Alumni Survey Analysis

The results of the MPA Alumni Survey Analysis demonstrate alumni are satisfied with the Rutgers University-Camden MPA program; however, according to the alumni, career development can be improved.  The Rutgers University in Camden MPA department graduated its first students in 1982.  In order to evaluate the quality of the program, the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs has performed a survey on all 422 MPA alumni.  The survey results indicate that decision making and problem-solving, oral communication, written communication, and leadership skills are the most important tools developed in the program.